My favorite hymn of all time, hands down, is "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." These are the lyrics:
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Some of the most wonderful memories from my childhood are from Easter Sundays in the Methodist Church my family attended, pipe organ being played full blast, sometimes a brass ensemble as well, accompanying choir and congregation singing these glorious words. I want it sung at my funeral.
It may or may not be sung tomorrow at the church of which I am now a part. If it is, it will be with electronic music that will not hold a candle to the more natural organ and brass, and it will probably be a more "modern" version, but I will still relish the words, which so beautifully -- yet simply -- tell the story of redemption that is the heart and soul of the Christian faith.
There is plenty of room at the table, in my opinion, for those who profess Christ as Savior. We come to Him in different ways. We can debate inerrancy of Scripture, reform theology, millenialism and on and on . . . and we will still arrive at different conclusions. And I am comfortable with that.
But the resurrection is one of those non-negotiables for me. As Wesley so eloquently put it, "Made like Him, like Him we rise." No room for any further discussion or interpretation there. The ultimate triumph, the resurrection, is what seals the deal.
There is a modern/contemporary song that I also love (though not nearly as much as "Christ the Lord") that also captures the redemption story. Titled "I Know My Redeemer Lives," the words are as follows:
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? and Who told the ocean you can only come this far? And Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening? Whose words alone can catch a falling star?
Well I know my Redeemer lives. I know my Redeemer lives: All of creation testifies, This life within me cries, I know my Redeemer lives.
The very same God that spins things in orbit runs to the weary, the worn and the weak. And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken, they conquered death to bring me victory.
Now I know my Redeemer lives. I know my Redeemer lives. Let all creation testify, Let this life within we cry, I know my Redeemer.
He livesTo take away my shame. And He lives forever, I'll proclaim, that the payment for my sin Was the precious life He gave. But now He's alive and There's an empty grave.
Wow. My Redeemer lives. Made like Him, like Him we rise. Is that good news or what? Alleluia!